Assistant Professor Shuting Wang (Paul H. Chook Department of Information Systems and Statistics) has been awarded a grant from the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub, an organization that promotes collaboration and innovation in data science endeavors. Prof. Wang won a $25,000 Seed Fund Grant for her solo research project, “Home Bias as a Double-Edged Sword? Existence and Influence of Patients’ Preference for Local Physicians.” She spoke to Zicklin News about her latest success.
Zicklin News: Congratulations on your grant. Tell us more about your research. What do you propose to demonstrate or investigate?
Shuting Wang: Geographic barriers have been widely observed in the traditional healthcare systems. People in medically disadvantaged areas (e.g. rural cities) often have to compromise on the quality and the selection of local providers, due to the shortage of top-quality specialists who are usually concentrated in more populated big cities. The rise of virtual health platforms naturally leads to a question of whether virtual health can address such geographic barriers in healthcare. Ideally, the answer should be “yes,” as the platforms’ digital format allows patients to electronically consult providers without physically visiting the sites, enlarging their reach to the best providers in any locations. Yet, the answer could also be “no,” because the influence of geographic barriers may also expand to the online setting. Specifically, patients may be compelled to choose local providers even on virtual health platforms, if the widely documented issue of home bias (i.e., a phenomenon wherein individuals irrationally prefer to transact business with agents that are within the same geographic boundary such as the same city, rather than those from outside) also exists in this context. Our study aims to empirically explore whether home bias exists among patients and if existing, what are the subsequent consequences.
ZN: How do you plan to use the funding?
SW: The funding will be used to run online experiments and pay for summer research.
ZN: Great. What’s next?
SW: We have finished the preliminary analysis, and the next step is to finish the writing and send the paper to top Information System journals.